Business planning for the upcoming year – three questions to consider

As we welcome the new year and make plans for the coming months, it’s important to recognise exactly where our businesses are and where they’re going. While our businesses probably offer the same products and services we created them for, our focus might have changed.

In this blog, we look at ways of identifying where our businesses are right now, and how to use our findings to plan ahead.

  1. Where is your business right now?

It may be tempting to get out last year’s plan and just reprise it for this year. But to create an effective forward plan, you need to be clear with yourself about where the business is now, and how successful it is.

You might notice you’re in a stronger position this year than last, or you might be in a weaker position. Perhaps there has been a development in your industry which affects the way you work. Suppose that you work in communications and covid homeworking has created some new opportunities for you to expand into. Or if you work in an industry that has become more precarious in the last two years, such as entertainment or hospitality, it might be time to broaden your offering in a new field.

As well as identifying where you are now, it’s also valuable to compare it with last year. If you were in a strong position twelve months ago and are now in a weak position, what has gone wrong and what can you learn from it? Alternatively, if you’re seeing a steady trend in your sector, it might suggest new opportunities to grow your business.

  1. What do you need to succeed this year?

Depending on whether you’re on an upswing or a downswing, your priorities for the upcoming year will be different.

If things have been a little slow, business growth is the obvious priority. You might consider refocusing your marketing to connect with new audiences, or review your products and services to see if they still appeal.

On the other hand, if you’ve seen a year of expansion, it might be time to bring in more pairs of hands to help you meet demand. You might choose to invest in technology that would enable you to work smarter and expand still further. Perhaps the additional revenue generated last year could be reinvested in your business to help it grow.

If it’s time to break into a new market, we always recommend doing thorough research and keeping an open mind. We’ve seen restaurants offering online cookery and click-and-collect meals. We’ve seen theatre companies offering exclusive streamings of their shows. Sometimes the new direction chooses you – if all your clients have been from the same sector in recent months, consider ways of connecting specifically with that market.

  1. Could outsourcing help you achieve your goals?

Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution whether your business is expanding (or needs to expand!).

If this is the first year you’ve seen growth, you might feel cautious about taking on a permanent staff member. However, when you outsource, you only pay for the hours they work – you can even mix and match skills to create the perfect business support package.

And if you’ve recognised that you need to make your business work harder, a virtual expert can help. They can focus on a particular area you struggle with, whether that’s admin, marketing or cold-calling to drum up more business. Again, you only pay for the hours they work so there’s no need to commit to expenses you can’t support.  

And if you’re breaking into a new area, you can work with a virtual expert who has relevant experience. For example, you might need to add some new pages to your website to showcase the additional services, or learn about a new pricing structure – the right virtual expert will share their knowledge and help your business to travel in its new direction.

Outsourcing for expanding businesses

Get Ahead has worked with countless clients whose businesses are experiencing growth. The flexibility a virtual expert offers makes outsourcing a great solution for businesses experiencing change of any sort. To find out more, visit our services page or contact your local regional director.  

PS – if you found this blog useful, you might also like:

How to do a quarterly review – four questions you should be asking – Get Ahead VA

Learning from business mistakes – why it’s important and how to do it – Get Ahead VA

Why are financial goals important for my business? – Get Ahead VA

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.